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Understanding Social Interactions: Evidence from the Classroom

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  • De Giorgi, Giacomo

    ()
    (Stanford University)

  • Pellizzari, Michele

    ()
    (University of Geneva)

Abstract

There is a large literature on social interactions and still little is known about the economic mechanisms leading to the high level of clustering in behavior that is so commonly observed in the data. In this paper we present a model in which agents are allowed to interact according to three distinct mechanisms, and we derive testable implications on the mean and the variance of the outcomes within and across groups. The empirical tests allow us to distinguish which mechanism(s) generates the observed patterns in the data. In our application we study the performance of undergraduate students and we find that social interactions take the form of mutual insurance. Such a result bears crucial policy implications for all those situations in which social interactions are important, from teamwork to class formation in education and co-authorship in academic research.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5624.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Journal, 2013, [Online First]
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5624

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Keywords: peer effects; social interactions; teamwork;

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References

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  1. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari & William Gui Woolston, 2010. "Class Size and Class Heterogeneity," NBER Working Papers 16405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Edmark, Karin & Frölich, Markus & Wondratschek, Verena, 2014. "Sweden’s School Choice Reform and Equality of Opportunity," Working Paper Series 1030, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Lucifora, Claudio & Tonello, Marco, 2012. "Students' Cheating as a Social Interaction: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in a National Evaluation Program," IZA Discussion Papers 6967, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Marco Tonello, 2011. "Mechanisms of peer interactions between native and non-native students: rejection or integration?," Working Papers 2011/21, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  4. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari & Silvia Redaelli, 2010. "Identification of Social Interactions through Partially Overlapping Peer Groups," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 241-75, April.

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